CEQA in the News
Environmental exemptions yes, but reform no
By Dan Walters, September 13, 2020
The California Legislature has a handy website that allows users to find and track the thousands of bills that are introduced during its two-year sessions. If one enters “California Environmental Quality Act” into the website’s search function, 171 bills pop up for the session that ended a fortnight ago, implying the Legislature’s penchant for tinkering with California’s landmark environmental legislation that then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed 50 years ago. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Broad CEQA reforms are needed, not just selective CEQA carve-outs
Orange County Register
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, June 25, 2020
In March, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced a new bill aimed at increasing housing density in California over the objections of cities that have resisted it. Six weeks earlier, Wiener’s attempt to densify neighborhoods near transit and jobs, Senate Bill 50, had been defeated. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
California governor temporarily suspends notice, posting and filing requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act
By Reed Smith LLP, May 5, 2020
On April 22, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that suspended for 60 days certain public filing, posting, notice, and public access requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This order affects all projects in the state requiring a governmental approval that triggers environmental review. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
After SB 50’s defeat, California lawmaker unveils ‘light touch’ housing density bill
Los Angeles Times
By John Myers, March 9, 2020
Six weeks after his high-profile effort to force California cities to increase housing density failed in the Legislature, the Democratic lawmaker behind the proposal introduced on Monday what he called a “light touch” approach — still pushing for more housing units in many single-family neighborhoods while also offering other communities the ability to skip lengthy environmental review for larger projects. The bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would allow construction of duplex, triplex and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods using what’s known as “by-right” provisions of state law. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
What Trump’s proposed NEPA rollback could mean for the climate
Yale Climate Connections
By Bruce Lieberman, February 20, 2020
The Trump administration is proposing to break new ground in its efforts to de-emphasize climate change, in this case involving the landmark 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its provisions requiring environmental impact statements. A Trump Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposal would allow review of environmental impact statements without consideration of projected impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and effects on the global climate. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
How to ease California housing crisis in four easy steps, and four more that are a little harder
By Dan Dunmoyer, February 18, 2020
The Construction Industry Research Board Report should be a wakeup call to California lawmakers. The report shows that 110,218 housing unit permits were issued in 2019, a 7% decrease from the prior year. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Newsom signs bill requiring further environmental review for Cadiz project
The Desert Sun
By Shane Newell and Sam Metz, July 31, 2019
A bill signed Wednesday evening by Gov. Gavin Newsom will require Cadiz Inc.’s Mojave Desert groundwater pumping project to undergo further review to prove it will not harm the surrounding environment. The bill, SB 307, was authored by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and cleared the Assembly earlier this month. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Environmental Laws Don’t Impede Development
Voice of San Diego
By JP Theberge, July 29, 2019
San Diego County, like the rest of California, is facing an affordable housing crisis of unprecedented proportions. But in the push to build more housing, officials should be careful not to throw out laws that have long served the state and our region. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state’s iconic environmental law
By Alastair Bland, May 13, 2019
In the rugged hills to the east of the Napa Valley, chainsaws and bulldozers converted a steep hillside of scrubby oak woodland and rockpiles into another vineyard. “That was an incredible rock-hopping wonderland, with frothing, amazing, waterfalling cascades every time it rained—I mean, it should have been a park,” said nearby resident Kellie Anderson of what is now a plot of grapevines at Bremer Family Winery, in the small community of Deer Park. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Dam removal opponents keep up their fight
Taft Midway Driller
By Skye Kinkade, May 1, 2019
As the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced that they’ve contracted with a company for removal of four Klamath dams last week, opponents continue to insist the organization is ill-prepared for the expense and consequences of removal. KRRC said they have contracted with Fairfield’s Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. for the design and implementation of dam removal, which they admit is “contingent on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a license transfer and license surrender, as well as other regulatory permits.” Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Letter: Strong CEQA shields Mount Diablo-area natural lands
The Mercury News
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, April 25, 2019
The California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, is the preeminent environmental law for the state. This year, several bills that would weaken this law are working through the Legislature. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Environment Report: Lawsuits Are a Weapon in Major Water Conflicts
Voice of San Diego
By Ry Rivard, April 22, 2019
In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair Hearing?” PART II
By David Kersten, March 28, 2019
The accidental result of the new UC Berkeley academic studies and testimony presented at the March 12 joint legislative hearing appeared to clearly implicate CEQA as a major driver of the state’s skyrocketing housing development costs. The first panel was intended to give an overview of CEQA and its streamlining provisions. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Is CEQA Preventing Housing from Being Built in California?
By Melanie Curry, March 13, 2019
Two Senate committees–Judiciary and Environmental Quality–held a joint informational hearing yesterday to discuss whether the California Environmental Quality Act is slowing or impeding housing production across the state. It is not, said several CEQA experts. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.
Five Years in the Making: California is One Step Closer to a Comprehensive Update to the CEQA Guidelines
The National Law Review
By Jeffrey W. Forrest, Whitney Hodges, Alexander L. Merritt, and Lauren K. Chang, January 7, 2019
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Guidelines. The updated text (“Final Text”) ensures the Guidelines are consistent with recent court decisions, implements legislative changes, clarifies rules governing the CEQA process, and eliminates duplicative analysis. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.